PALO ALTO, CA – The suicide letter left by Stanford football has been criticized by the literary community for its “poorly cited” bibliography, prompting a series of back and forths between several journalists, literature publications and even members of Stanford’s own English department. Though there have been no outright accusations of plagiarism, the issue has nonetheless spawned an international outcry coming on the heels of the letter being shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction.
An image from the jacket of Stanford Football: Deconstructing 116 Years of Grotesquerie and the Fabulism of Crowds (Stanford University Press, 2007)
“It’s ridiculous,” said Ramon Saldivar, chair of the Stanford English department and author of The Borderlands of Culture: Américo Paredes and the Transnational Imaginary (2006).
“The bibliography is fine. I’ll tell you exactly what this is: cultural backlash. Six years of anti-Americanism has manifested itself in European disdain for the kind of revolutionary research represented by Stanford football’s suicide letter. They haven’t directly said ‘plagiarism’ but we all know what’s at stake here, what they’re insinuating. I stand by the football department and their work. It’s daring stuff. It’s the kind of writing that made this country the locus of late twentieth century literature at the expense of continental Europe, and they know it.”